With Gas Pipeline Projects Blocked, State Searching for an Energy Plan – Hartford Courant

December 10, 2016 Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Google+ Uncategorized

Connecticut policymakers are scrambling to develop a new energy strategy now that decisions in Massachusetts and New Hampshire have stalled multibillion-dollar pipeline projects to bring more natural gas to New England.

The long-range consequences of taking the wrong path now could lead to millions of dollars in added energy costs for consumers, missing mandated greenhouse gas emission reductions and a weaker business climate.

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s administration is trying to revise the state’s comprehensive energy plan. The legislative deadline for completing the strategy update was October, but state officials now say they hope to have it completed by early next year.

“The challenge of inadequate regional natural gas capacity to serve power plants is greater than one state can solve alone,” said Department of Energy and Environmental Protection spokesman Dennis Schain.

“We don’t think that’s the case,” said Dornbos. He said independent research indicates that energy conservation together with increasing renewable sources like solar and wind power can supply the region’s energy needs without massive investments to bring in more natural gas.

Daly points out that older oil- and coal-fired generating plants are being closed or converted to natural gas. Reed, the legislator, said nuclear power continues to be very expensive, with high costs for security and storage of spent nuclear fuel rods.

The CBIA’s Brown said he has no doubt that current constraints on supplies of natural gas “will continue to hurt us in terms of the cost of electricity,” particularly if we get another bitter winter.

Both environmentalists and industry officials say what is needed is a “balanced approach” to solving Connecticut’s energy needs, without over-reliance on any one type of energy. But they disagree about what that balance should include. Daly argues that natural gas to generate electricity is a proven technology that will be needed for decades to come; environmentalists like Coleman insist investing those billions of dollars in energy efficiency and renewable power sources is a “better deal for Connecticut taxpayers.”